How to Create a Backyard that feels like an Extension of Your Home

By Jeff Skierka

Creating a big room out of a little backyard

As a designer, I am seeing more clients who wonder what to do with nonfunctional outdoor spaces in planned communities such as Talus and The Highlands in Issaquah, where homeowners’ backyards may be only 10 to 20 feet deep.

In a space this small, having a lawn or a play area for the kids is not a realistic option. (Fortunately, developments like these incorporate multiple park areas throughout the development to address this need.) This is the dilemma that Stan and Stefanie Finklestein, who live in Talus, faced. Their backyard was problematic in almost every way. However, they looked at this space with a new set of goals in mind, and decided they wanted:

  • A large mortar-set stone patio
  • A gas fire pit and water feature
  • A planting layout that makes their backyard private
  • Low maintenance
  • Low-voltage lighting that brings the backyard to life after sundown

With the backyard makeover complete, this area is now their favorite room of the house. Stefanie says, “We never wanted to go in the backyard before this makeover, and now we can’t wait to spend as much time out there as possible.” One benefit of a small backyard: This type of transformation can be accomplished at a much lower price.

Finklestien Path BeforeFinklestein Path After